Straight from Politico’s Playbook, two new polls show major problems for Democrats and candidate Obama. Biggest take away from the data 1) Republicans have a MAJOR opportunity with Hispanics voters. 2) Confirms  that Latino voters are open to a conservative messages and want to reduce government spending.  3) Latinos want real reform to fix the broken immigration system, not just empty promises…  I’ll have my analysis, and some historical content later. For now, here is the data:


1) THIS CYCLE’S BIGGEST SURVEY OF LATINO VOTERS: Campaigns and party committees are getting confidential briefings on the findings of a bipartisan poll for Univision of 1,500 likely Latino voters, conducted by Mark Mellman of The Mellman Group (a Democratic firm) and Dave Sackett of The Tarrance Group (Republican). About one-third of the interviews were conducted in Spanish, and the poll oversampled in CA, TX, FL, NV, NM and AZ. Playbook was provided an exclusive look at the findings:

–The research finds A SUBSTANTIAL HISPANIC SWING VOTE. Dissatisfaction with the country’s direction creates an opening for Republicans with Hispanics, and PERRY’S STANDING IN TEXAS REVEALS HOW WELL THE GOP CAN DO WITH LATINOS. 57% of those polled consider themselves Democrats, 19% Republican and 15% independent. But 43% call themselves conservative, 37% liberal and 20% moderate. Even 32% of Democrats call themselves conservatives!

–Get this: For SWING Latino voters, the top concern was “the federal gov’t in DC is wasting too much of our tax money,” just ahead of education, Medicare, deficit, “family values are in decline” and jobs. Their top issues mirror the top issues of other swing voters: “illegal immigration is out of control” was cited by 14%, compared with 17% for “politicians aren’t serious about real immigration reform” (participants could give multiple answers).

–The point to the campaigns is that Spanish-language ads can be run on the candidates’ primary message – it doesn’t have to be a separate Hispanic track. 30% of Latino swing voters watch mostly Spanish-language TV, and even English speakers consider candidates’ Spanish ads as “a sign that they respect the community.”


Fausta’s blog (Fausta Werz) has some updates on the ailing Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez:

How Sick Is Chavez?


After returning from his latest round of chemotherapy in Cuba, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez is hospitalized with renal failure and medullary aplasia:

The UK’s Telegraph reports, Hugo Chavez in hospital ‘for kidney failure’. Hugo Chavez, who has been fighting cancer, was rushed to a military hospital for emergency care following kidney failure, according to reports.

El Nuevo Herald also reports that (my translation: if you use this translation please link to this post and credit me):

On the other hand, the source stated that Chavez suffered from medullary aplasia, the disappearance of blood-producing cells in the bone marrow, which complicated his medical state. According to doctors, medullary aplasia can be total, affecting the production of red and white blood cells, or partial, which affects the production of one type of blood cells.

(More information on aplasia here)

Of course, it didn’t take long for Chavista officials to deny the Herald report:

Read the full story here:

Today the Republican Party of Florida said they will likely move forward with an early primary. According to CBS News:

” A spokesperson for Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon tells CBS News that the commission appointed to select the state’s presidential primary date is expected to announce on Friday that the Florida primary will be January 31, 2012.”

(NOTE: See update below, a memo from the Florida’s RNC National Committeeman  explaining the situation.)

The road to the White House runs straight through the Sunshine State. In order to claim victory in the 2012 Presidential race, a candidate must win the pivotal swing state of Florida and its 29 electoral votes. With its unique demographics, Florida’s is a snapshot of America.

Northern Florida, and particularly the Panhandle, is representative of the American South. Central Florida is a growing community and unfortunately facing economic challenges. Its’ politically powerful “I-4 Corridor” is a cultural mix, which includes large numbers of Puerto Ricans and Latin American Immigrants. And you must not forget The Villages, a microcosm of Florida’s politically active Senior Citizens. Those over 65 years young make up nearly one in five Florida voters . Many Southwest Floridians are former mid-westerners and young suburban families. The electorate in South Florida is cultural melting pot, with high levels of Northeastern transplants and vocal immigrants groups, including Cuban-Americans and growing populations of young independent Central Americans, South Americans and Haitian-Americans.

Having an early and strong presence in Florida will help the GOP nominee win in November, and secure those crucial independent voters. Democrats make up 41 % of the Florida’s registered voters. Republicans makeup 36 % of the electorate. Nearly a quarter of Florida’s voters have elected not to register with either party. Florida has large minority populations, Hispanics make up over 15% of the electorate, and African-Americans represent over 12% of voters. The state continues to be a toss up, securing victories for both political parties, including President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama and Governor Rick Scott.

With its multiple media markets, regional diversity and contrasting demographics, Florida is an expensive state to win. Yet, a candidate will not win the White House without the support of Florida voters.

UPDATE: Late Wednesday night a county chapter of the Republican Party of Florida emailed a memo from Paul Senft, Republican National Committeeman From Florida explaining why moving the primary was a bad idea. I wanted to share his thoughts, and his breakdown on how the shift will impact the overall primary. MORE AFTER THE JUMP

There is growing support among Republican leaders for a limited version of the Dream Act, according to Florida’s The state-level Dream Act allows children who grew up in America, yet as minors entered the country illegally by no fault of their own, to receive in-state college tuition, in the state in which they reside and graduated from high school. The state version of the Dream Act does not deal with immigration status.

Read the full post by Shark Tank’s Javier Manjarres: “Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush In-Line With a Limited Form of the Dream Act?

Governor Rick Perry’s support for in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants is now getting the blessing of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who always has had a soft spot for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants in Florida. Governor Bush stated to the National Journal that he thought that Perry’s Texas tuition measure was “fair policy.”

By all accounts, the illegal immigration debate is ready to explode onto the 2012 election season, as many groups, both pro and anti-illegal immigration begin to make their cases for their respective causes. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio was ridiculed several years ago for not helping to pass (6) immigration reform bills that eventually died while he was the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

According to the Journal, in 2003 and 2004, Senator Marco Rubio sponsored a similar bill offering tuition assistance to the children of illegal immigrants. During his 2010 Senatorial campaign, Rubio ran to the right on the illegal immigration issue, and fast became the pro-legal immigration candidate, winning the both the Tea Party and Conservative votes.

“Senator Rubio does not support blanket in-state tuition benefits for students who are in this country illegally. As he said throughout the 2010 campaign and continues to say today, he believes that a consensus exists to help a limited number of young people who were brought here by their parents as young children and have worked hard, exhibited good moral character, and want to contribute to our nation’s future in a meaningful way by becoming part of American society and attending college or joining our armed forces,” said [Senator] Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos.


Several versions of the “Dream Act” exist, with very different rules when implemented at the state or federal level. State based “Dream Acts” are in-state tuition measures and usually only impact a student’s ability to attend college. Most versions of a federal DREAM Act deal with college admission, military service and a student’s immigration status. According to the National Journal, “…Rubio opposes the federal DREAM Act, which would allow children of illegal immigrants who go to college or serve in the military to earn legal status. Perry also opposes that legislation.

Speaking after his appearance at the Hispanic Leadership Network‘s New Mexico conference, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal answered questions from reporters. He was asked why the children of immigrants might be interested in joining the Republican Party. Drawing from his own experience, as a child of Indian immigrants, Jindal explained why he decided to join the GOP and go into politics.

He said “The conservative policies that define the Republican Party, its emphasis on personal freedom, on liberty, on making sure everybody has the opportunity to succeed, are exactly the same values my parents taught me. My dad taught me to love this country and be grateful for its’ opportunities.He knew, he lived somewhere else, he knew not to take those freedoms for granted…” Click on the video to hear his full remarks.

Governor Jindal is the first Indian-American governor in the country.

Attempting to live blog the Hispanic Leadership Network Conference in New Mexico via my iPhone. (Please excuse any typos.) Also, I will be tweeting at @BettinaInclan. Follow the conversation at #HLNNM and via the Hispanic Leadership Network’s official twitter account @HispanicLN

(9:15 am)
Rosario Marin, former U.S. Treasurer, kick off conference and welcomes large crowd to New Mexico. Introduces HLN’s Executive Director, Jenny Korn.


(9:30 am) Senator Norm Coleman of the American Action Network takes the stage and explains the purpose of HLN and hope for the organization:

“Hispanics are not just part of the American dream they are the American Dream.”

Coleman discussed shared principles between conservatives and Hispanics including commitment to faith, family and country. He also highlights economic principles, “We support low taxes because we believe you should decide how to spend your money not the government.”

“We must be more than just words,” says Senator Coleman, as he talks about the need to have a real longterm strategy to connect with Latinos. He continues to say we need to have more than just conferences, speeches and occasional newsletters. He promised a new strategy from the Hispanic Leadership Network to truly engage Hispanics nationwide.

(9:40ish am)
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush address crowd via video.

(9:44 am)
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal takes the stage. Says he is happy to be back in New Mexico as he was last here to help Susana Martinez become Governor. VIDEO:

Jindal makes a great speech of the lessons he has learned from his parents. Big laughs from the crowd as the Governor tells stories of his immigrant parents adapting to living in America after immigrating to Louisiana from India. His parents told him every day “You are so lucky to be an American.”

His dad was laser focused on making sure Bobby Jindal got a good education. Jindal’s dad would say “I might not leave you an inheritance, or a great name, but I’ll make sure you have a great education.” This inspired Jindal to improve education in Louisiana and focus on how students are doing not how much money is spent per pupil. He highlights the possibilities of charter schools and the importance of school choice. Full video:


Governor Bobby Jindal, Jenny Korn and Senator Norm Coleman